A Workshop Aimed at Tackling Lebanon’s Waste Management Crisis

On Wednesday April 12th, 2017 a workshop entitled “Toward the Development of the National Solid Waste Management Strategy and the Adoption of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Law” was held at the Lebanese Parliament Library Hall. The workshop was jointly organized by the General Secretariat of the Lebanese Parliament, the United Nations Development Programme project at Parliament and UN Environment program, in partnership with the Lebanese Ministry of Environment.

The workshop comes at a crucial time following the solid waste management crisis that intensified in 2015, and due to the absence of an official government integrated national strategy and sustainable legal framework that are essential to resolving the waste management crisis in Lebanon. The workshop that took place Wednesday morning had three objectives: discussing the need for a Waste Management Strategy and proposing the basic principles to be included in the strategy, presenting and discussing the suggested draft law and the reasons as to why it hasn’t been enacted, and discussing the need and requirements of implementing decentralization in Solid Waste Management.

The session began with an opening statement by Ms. Manal Mousalem, Representative of H.E. Mr. Tarek Khatiib, and Minister of Environment. “ The Ministry of Environment has introduced the need to protect the mountains and the natural areas and green spaces, and in investing in beaches and agricultural areas. We will keep trying to reach results in the waste file and other files including the safety of the environment and the health of the citizen,” Mousalem stated.

Following Ms. Mousalem’s opening remarks was a speech by Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, Deputy UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. “In a country that has always relied heavily on its coastline and natural reserve, this is simply not sustainable. The garbage crisis in 2015 demonstrated in all clarity that Lebanon needs a national strategy on how to deal with waste,” said Lazzarini. “The need to resolve the issue has become even more critical not just to protect the environment and public health, but also to restore confidence in citizens,” he added.

“If we all move in the same direction we can stick to taking action, and we will work with consistency and accuracy in the application of standards stipulated by the United Nations in this field. We will succeed in in attracting local and international funding sources based on trust, transparency, and credibility,” stated Mr. Iyaad Abu Mughli, Regional Director of the United Nations Environment program.

The opening session concluded with a speech by H.E. Adnan Daher, Secretary General of the Lebanese Parliament representing H.E MP Akram Chehayeb, Head of the Environment Parliamentary Committee. “Today, if solutions are agreed upon, the construction and operation of the plants require at least two and a half years. Facing this dilemma, we see no solution except for agreeing on a single strategy that guarantees a sustainable, environmental and scientific solution. This can only be achieved by establishing laws and decrees guaranteeing this strategy”.

This workshop marks a substantial step towards accomplishing the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production” and 15 “Life on Land”.

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